Now, the dynamics of arranged marriages have changed, or so we’d like to think. There are women who’ve given the prospective grooms a whiff of the jail room even as they were fantasizing a trip to the bedroom instead. The woman with her chai ki tray has morphed into a different being — never mind the Balaji serials. In her place, you have a woman who gives it as good as she gets and sometimes much before she gets. There may be women who still go through the coy-act-and the-downward-gaze motions, but oh oh oh the tide is turning.
So, here’s us, the imaginary busybody fly on the wall in a room where an arranged marriage rigmarole is under way. It’s the first meeting, and this is how it goes. Sorry, men, this is a fun piece, written by a woman, so we’ve kept you at the receiving end. But it’s also true that when the boy-meets-girl thing happens, the guy is already imagining her as the mother of his sons whereas the girl is thinking ‘no way this guy cuts it for me’! Yes, yes, the usual Mars-Venus conundrum, but we suggest you take our total random convo a little seriously because who knows if fiction plays out as reality! Boy Scout motto: Be prepared!
Scene: The girl and the guy have been asked by the two sets of parents to check each other out and have a talk.
Prospective groom, sizing her up (PG): So, how tall are you?
Prospective bride stands up (PB): Here, I am as tall as I stand from my head to toe.
PG: No, I meant in feet and inches
PB: (Enjoying it) Why just feet when I am also two hands and one head?
PG: (Showing signs of exasperation) Hahahaha, never mind. So, tell me, can you cook?
PB: Now? Are you really that hungry?
PG: God, no! I mean how good are you in the kitchen?
PB: Oh, that’s asking! That’s a pretty unusual place to do it,I’d say. You seem to be the adventurous sort.
PG: (Ready to tear his hair out) You are pretty unconventional, I can see. Tell me, do you wear short and revealing clothes? Indian women look prettiest in traditional clothes
PB: Short and revealing… Har, har… sounds like a film plot or a story line. Well, I look equally pretty in all kinds of clothes! Your research sample size must have been definitely flawed.
PG: (Wanting an escape route, now) You must be the smoking and drinking kinds…
PB: (Thoroughly enjoying herself) Together would be tough, man!
PB: So, how many more questions to go? Are you always this well prepared?
PG: (A bit tongue-tied) I don’t know how to ask this, but um… um… um… Are you a… um… virgin?
PB: (Eyes wide, and totally unabashed) Why, is that bloke Richard Branson still looking for me?
PG: (Cursing his folks for this meeting, and on the verge of giving up) I am quite sure you must be having boyfriends…
PB: Was that a wild guess, or did one of them give you the directions to get here?
PG: OK, this isn’t going too well. Let’s start again… Tell me about your hobbies…
PB: (Unrelenting) Making men squirm is just one of them!
PG: Looks like you’ve someone else on your mind. I should have never agreed to go through this.
PB: Who’s the one ‘going through’ in this case?
PG: (At his wits’ end) I think I have a headache. Isn’t this the usual line of questioning for arranged set-ups? This doesn’ t look to be an arranged one at all.
PB: Not tonight, darling, the headache.! And it’s arranged alright. Arranged my way!
PG: (Beating a hasty retreat to the door) Thank you! I need to find love ASAP!
PB: Make sure it’s short and revealing! OK, make that tall and revealing!
PG: (Goes home and deletes his profile from the matrimonial site)
The fly on the wall buzzes off, too.